Centuries from Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers frustrated Pakistan on the opening day of the second Test in Abu Dhabi.
The South Africa pair added 179 for the fourth wicket after Tanvir Ahmed - making his debut just a month shy of his 32nd birthday - had removed the top order with only 33 runs on the board.
Tanvir also removed Kallis, but only after the veteran had reached 100 for the 37th time in Tests, while de Villiers also enjoyed partnerships of 56 with Ashwell Prince and 43 with Mark Boucher.
South Africa reached stumps on 311-5 - a far cry from the first half-hour when they lost Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith in quick succession.
Tanvir had Petersen caught by Misbah-ul-Haq at first slip for two and Amla had added only four when he edged a delivery into the gloves of Adnan Akmal.
Captain Graeme Smith made a watchful 10, but his despair was obvious as a loose shot saw him caught behind with the score on 33.
Mohammad Sami, making another comeback attempt at international level, allowed Kallis get away to a fast start, shipping 32 runs off his first four overs, and the 35-year-old made it serenely to 50 before lunch with nine fours and a six off just 58 balls.
It was a similar story in the second session as he and the more watchful de Villiers built their stand, the latter passing 50 off 79 deliveries with seven boundaries.
The Pakistan attack failed to back up the explosive start from Tanvir, with frontline seamers Umar Gul and Sami remaining wicketless in 35 overs combined.
Kallis passed his landmark just before tea, the hundred coming off 35 balls with 12 fours and three maximums, but he failed to add to his 105 when in the first over after the interval Tanvir got one through his defences with an off-cutter that clipped the inside edge on the way through.
De Villiers reigned in his attacking game as he took over the position of senior partner with Prince, reaching 100 in 181 balls as the duo put on 50 in 96 balls for the fifth wicket.
Six more were added before Mohammad Hafeez had Prince caught by debutant Asad Shafiq off a long-hop for 32, but there were no further successes for Pakistan despite taking the second new ball, de Villiers moving on to 120 not out with Boucher still there on 26 at the close.